Challenge Europe – Return to Europe for the Ferrari Challenge
After opening with the Bahrain night race in February, the second round of the 2019 Ferrari Challenge Europe season takes place this weekend at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit.
The championship thus returns to Europe after thrilling races in the dunes of the Sakhir desert that delivered the leadership of the various classes to Niccolò Schirò, Emanuele Maria Tabacchi, Tani Hanna and Laurent De Meeus.
Trofeo Pirelli. In this class, Niccolò Schirò (Rossocorsa) leads Louis Prette (Formula Racing) by just two points and Sam Smeeth (Baron Motorsport) by ten. The identity of the winner is now even less predictable due to the return of Bjorn Grossmann (Octane 126), fresh from second place in the opening round of the VLN and three times Trofeo Pirelli Europe champion, in 2006, 2015 and 2016. Maximilian Mayer (Gohm Motorsport) will make his debut alongside him. The German driver has experience in the ADAC Formel Masters and the ADAC GT Masters.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. After a perfect weekend, Emanuele Maria Tabacchi (Rossocorsa) could also be the man to beat in Valencia. The most serious threat to him, along with the rivals already faced in Bahrain such as Jack Brown (Ferrari UK – Graypaul Nottingham), could come from an old acquaintance of the Challenge, Alessandro Vezzoni (Rossocorsa – Pellin Racing) winner of the European title in the Trofeo Pirelli-AM, as well as the 2015 Finali Mondiali. Fabienne Wohlwend (Octane 126) also returns to the championship. In 2018 she finished second in this class and won the world title in the class at Monza, while German driver Oliver Plassmann (Autohaus Ulrich) and the Slovak Marian Sufliarsky (MERTEL Italo Cars Nürnberg) will make their debuts at the wheel of the 488 Challenge.
Coppa Shell. The class leader, the Lebanese Tani Hanna (Formula Racing), will try to consolidate his ten-point advantage over his nearest rival, the Swede Christian Kinch (Gohm Motorsport). After taking part in the opening round of the Challenge North America at COTA and the Challenge Asia Pacific in Melbourne, James Weiland (Rossocorsa) will not start in Valencia and could, as a result, lose his third position in the standings.
Coppa Shell AM. The great start by Laurent De Meeus (Ferrari UK – HR Owen), who made the most of two incredible races in Bahrain, is also looking to repeat the feat on the Spanish circuit. His most feared opponents are Agata Smolka (Rossocorsa), winner of Race 1 at Sakhir, the returning Dusan Palcr (Scuderia Praha), fifth in 2018, and Giuseppe Ramelli (Rossocorsa – Pellin Racing), who also drove some excellent races last year.
Programme and TV. This track, always much appreciated by drivers and fans who can view the cars most of the way around due to its natural amphitheatre shape, will host an intense programme beginning on Thursday with the test sessions, ahead of the first time trials with the free practice on Friday. On both Saturday and Sunday, qualifying will be in the morning and the race in the early afternoon. The qualifying session and the races will be visible at https://races.ferrari.com/en/corse-clienti/live/.